Variety BC launch Variety Kids Can campaign for children with special needs

Milan & Maureen Ilich Family Foundation contribute $1 million; challenge others

$1 million donated to Variety – the Children’s Charity by the Milan & Maureen Ilich Family Foundation at the Show of Hearts telethon in February will go towards the new Variety Kids Can campaign. The announcement was made by Rick Ilich on Tuesday at the Terminal City Club, where Variety BC launched the fundraising initiative.

“The Milan & Maureen Ilich Family Foundation felt that this was the right year to make a very special gift for kids with special needs and their families,” said Ilich. “We invite other organizations and individuals to join us today in supporting Variety, so they can always be there to help kids be kids.”

The campaign – which thanks to the Ilich family made a giant first day leap towards its $2.5 million fundraising goal – is designed to attract more funding towards Variety BC’s core grant areas, as well as provide new opportunities to expand on the way the charity can help the kids and families it serves.

Variety Kids Can is a celebration of the remarkable achievements made every day by the kids we help, thanks to the generosity of our donors,” said Variety BC CEO, Kristy Gill. “We want our supporters to know that when they give, it means kids all across the province can learn and connect, move with freedom, be mentally well – and thrive.”

Individuals and organizations are invited to join Variety online and use the hashtags #Igive and #VarietyKidsCan to share the reasons they donate as well as share inspirational stories of kids overcoming obstacles. Funds raised by Variety Kids Can will go towards Variety BC’s five granting pillars, comprised of Mobility, Specialized Therapies, Mental Wellness, Educational Programs and Bursaries for Learning Disabilities, and Lifesaving Medical Equipment and Supplies.

“Variety is one of the only charities that will fund the kind of specialized therapy we needed for our child,” said Natasha Golinsky, whose daughter, Kalenna, has Childhood Apraxia of Speech – a condition that kept her completely non-verbal until she was six years old. Thanks to Variety, Kalenna has been able to see a speech therapist twice a week, and she has made more progress in the last year, than in the six prior. This week she spoke her first five word sentence. We’re so grateful.”

Read more about the Variety Kids Can campaign and Variety’s five granting pillars here.

Donations to the Variety Kids Can campaign can be made here or by calling 1-800-381-2040.

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Dear Variety Family,

During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global situation, our highest priority is the health, safety and well-being of our Variety donors, families, members, supporters, volunteers and all British Columbians.

Variety BC has been here for more than 50 years ensuring kids with special needs thrive. I would like to assure you that during this uncertain time, we will continue to be here for BC’s kids with special needs.

I also would like to provide you with an update on our response to date and our commitment to you moving forward:

  • In keeping with the BC Centre for Disease Control’s recommendations, we will be postponing all Variety events between March 16th and April 30th including our One Night in the Valley Gala on Saturday, April 4th at the Glass House Estate Winery
  • We have closed the Variety Office as a precautionary measure and are having employees set up to work-from-home. All in-person meetings will be moved to teleconference. We will evaluate working “virtually” on a week-to-week basis while actively monitoring the evolution of this global pandemic and returning to regular operating procedures once health authorities deem it safe for our staff to do so.
  • Due to our office closure, we have postponed the shipping of Robert Bateman’s Woodworkers – Pilated Woodpeckers posters and our Variety water bottles. Anyone looking for tax receipts will receive them via email
  • With the closure of BC’s schools, the need to ensure our kids are supported has never been so great. As such, our Heart of Variety Fund will continue to accept grant applications by e-mail.
    Like all of you, we will monitor the COVID-19 situation and communicate with you on important health and safety measures and decisions regarding events regularly.

We encourage you to stay informed by visiting BC Centre for Disease Control’s website at www.bccdc.ca and the Government of Canada’s website at www.canada.ca/en/publichealth/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.

We are grateful for your support as we navigate through this uncertain time.

Thank you,


Cally Wesson
CEO – Variety BC